HRC Blog

Taking a Stand for Equality at Ole Miss Graduation

With Governor Bryant’s signature, Mississippi’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act became law and will go into effect July 1. The possible repercussions of the draconian law are myriad, including the potential to subvert public university non-discrimination policies that include classes of people who lack federal protections – like LGBT people.

With graduation day approaching and a commencement speech from Gov. Bryant, University of Mississippi graduate student Kevin Cozart decided a statement needed to be made. Cozart set up a “Taking a Stand for Equality at UM Graduation” Facebook event and designed stickers supporting all Mississippians. With the aid of university professors Drs. Stollman, Grayzel and Harker, the stickers were printed and rainbow cords purchased. The support for the silent protest was widespread. With the help of other students and faculty, nearly 1,000 stickers and 100 cords were distributed for a protest during graduation on May 9.

“I’ve been personally moved by the outpouring of support from across the University,” said Cozart. “We’ve started the conversation.”

Another protest is scheduled for June 13, the night before the annual Mississippi picnic in New York's Central Park.

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